Can Compassion be Taught?

Can Compassion be Taught?
Engaging Students to Develop Compassionate Attitudes

Speaker: Prof. Shekhar Madhukar Kumta (Assistant Dean (Education), Faculty of Medicine)
Date: 25 November 2013 (Monday)

The technological advances in society have had a profound impact on the practice of medicine and perhaps even in the expectations of people directly benefitting from it. Breakthroughs in human genomic sequencing, the discovery of targeted therapies and highly customized patient specific solutions provide rapid diagnostic possibilities backed up by a plethora of sophisticated therapies for many diseases that were hitherto difficult to manage.

Yet the advances of technology, the expectations of modern society (including those of our students) and the corporatization of health care delivery have all tended to depersonalize the practice of medicine – changing from a healing art to a technology-based research driven enterprise.

Yet for all its sophistications the practice of medicine should remain a matter of close human interaction – based on a genuine feeling of compassionate understanding. Without this important paradigm medicine would become divorced from its deep human bondings and be relegated to the realm of pure commerce.

As educators, how can we retain the deep and innate humanity that underpins the practice of medicine—how can we inculcate compassionate values in our students?

In this lunch seminar, the speaker wishes to share his personal experiences in the teaching and practice of medicine that have profoundly influenced him and have enabled him to engage students and interns, motivating and stimulating them to understand the core value of compassionate and ethical behaviors in our daily interactions with humanity.

Speaker’s Bio
Prof. Shekhar Madhukar Kumta is Assistant Dean (Education) of Faculty of Medicine, Director of the Teaching and Learning Resource Centre and Professor in the Department of Orthopaedics & Traumatology. Prof. Kumta joined CUHK in 1989 and is an accomplished teacher, whose courses range from bedside and OPD clinical attachments to small group tutorials and larger group lectures that range widely across the medical curriculum. His contributions both to medical research and to medical education are much valued by the international medical fraternity.

Prof. Kumta is an enthusiastic teacher and advocate of effective and interactive teaching methods. He is highly regarded by both his students and his colleagues. His outstanding teaching has earned him a number of CUHK teaching awards, including the Best Teacher of the Year Award, the Faculty of Medicine Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and the Vice-Chancellor’s Exemplary Teaching Award. In 2012, Prof. Kumta was presented with a 2012 UGC Award for Teaching Excellence by the University Grants Committee (UGC), in recognition of his outstanding teaching performance and achievements.